So this is it. Time to pack up shop and carry all you own in two bags to an unfamiliar city. Time to leave your friends, family, and inhibitions behind and start on a new page. Time to write your name at the top of the page and date the margins.
That was it. 400 youth on the street and I knew about three people on day one. At high school, you’re in an environment where everyone knows everyone, you have your friends, and socializing is a scary amount of natural. Hell, there were 250 people in my year and still, I could say I’ve talked to most of them. It’s been so long since I exercised the “meeting new people” muscle that it’s atrophied into an indistinguishable mess, to the point where words sort of dribble out awkwardly. Although, the shyness doesn’t last forever, and by the eve of day one, you’re all gathered around in the room of someone who was a stranger not long ago, having a yarn, punching a few beers, and dancing like no-one’s watching. Until you promptly get kicked out at 10. No parties after 10. Rinse repeat.
That’s how much of O-week was for me. A weeklong bender to the point that I’ll have to ask some biomedical engineering students to fix me up with an artificial liver. Quite often someone will break out the strobe lights that give you nothing but a headache, which lasts well into the morning, where you get woken up at 8 to the sound of the buses and people with things to do with their day.
Life was all fine and dandy until day three. Before coming here, I’ve spent most of my days meandering around, and only seeing friends and family. On day three I suddenly remembered how familiar all of that was. That for the past eighteen years, I’ve 99.9% of weeks with my family. That over the past five, it would be weird if I didn’t see my friends for a day. And all of a sudden, that was gone. I remember that for most of the summer, I’d constantly tell people about how ready I was to leave, and to some extent, it stops you from actually preparing to lose all sense of familiarity in this strange place. And as a teenager, it’s very easy to downplay the importance of changes in your life.
Well this is the part where I’ll sell to you the idea of living in a hall, because they’re places where nearly 400 people are going through the exact thing.
So what should you expect? Expect to be in the most intensely social environment you’ll ever be in, and by nature of being young, expect to get up to a healthy amount of recklessness and debauchery.
If you’re like me, and like working things out for yourself, expect not to go to orientation days. I can’t remember a thing from them and if you can navigate through the university website and enrol, you’ll probably be able to find your way around.
Most importantly, expect that this will be different. O-week is something that you have to go through before you know what it’s truly like. No amount of me telling you about my experiences will be able to replicate it for you, and no amount of preparation will make you truly prepared. All you need to do is to spend this week taking it all in.
Until next time.